Mariners activate Franklin Gutierrez, option Casper Wells to Class AAA Tacoma.
MINNEAPOLIS — The Mariners activated Franklin Gutierrez on Monday. Gutierrez was in center field, hitting in the No. 2 spot in the order against the Twins.
Gutierrez suffered a concussion June 28 when he was hit by a wayward pickoff throw from Boston’s Franklin Morales. Gutierrez, who also missed the first two months of the season with a torn pectoral muscle, had two homers and nine RBI in 13 games before the concussion. The Mariners were 5-5 in his 10 starts in the two-hole.
“It felt good writing his name in the lineup today,” Mariners manager Eric Wedge said. “It’s a big piece for us. We saw what it meant earlier when we had him, how it tied our lineup together.
“He’s a guy who, for me, is the best of all worlds. He’s situationally sound. He understands the game. Puts up a good at-bat. Sees pitches. Can drive the ball. Can steal a bag for you if you need him to. Just the overall presence and experience, which is something we sorely lack offensively, is big for us.”
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Gutierrez said the last lingering symptoms of the concussion — headaches — subsided two weeks ago. He hit .333 with two homers and seven RBI in a seven-game rehab stint with Class AAA Tacoma. The concussion was Gutierrez’s second, following one early in his minor-league career after being hit by a pitch.
“I’m happy that I don’t have anything right now,” said Gutierrez, meaning concussion symptoms. “I don’t have to deal with that anymore. I’m feeling good.”
That past two seasons, that’s been rare. Gutierrez missed the first 41 games last year with stomach gastritis and almost all September with a strained left oblique. Now this season has been almost a waste.
“Everybody knows what’s been happening to me the last couple of years,” he said. “I just want to put that behind me. The team is playing good baseball and I want to be part of it. I want to try to help my team whatever way I can. That’s the most important thing.”
The Mariners made room for Gutierrez by optioning Casper Wells to Tacoma. Wedge said Wells will be among the September recalls.
• Outfielder Michael Saunders (groin strain) took batting practice and might try to play Tuesday, Wedge said.